TL;DR: Five days between both cities is more than enough time if you’re on a short trip.
When traveling to Colombia, you’re likely going to end up in Medellin, Bogota, or both at some point during your stay. They’re both interesting cities worth visiting, and there’s a lot to do both in the cities and the surrounding areas.
If you’re reading this, you’re at the point in your planning that you’re asking yourself: “How much time should I spend in Medellin and Bogota?”
Unfortunately, there are a lot of amazing places that are farther away as well, so you have to decide how much city time you want during your stay. However, rest assured that you can see much of what both cities and surrounding areas have to offer even if you’re limited on time.
How Much Time Should I Spend In Medellin?
We spent six months in Medellin, but we also had friends and family visit Colombia while we there.
Some of our friends stayed in Medellin for five days, and our family stayed in the city for three days. Based on our long-term experience and their shorter experiences, it seemed that three days was plenty for those on a shorter trip.
In those three days, you can:
- Do the Medellin walking tour
- Ride the cable car and hike around Parque Arvi
- Take a day trip to the dazzling lakes (and ruins of Pablo Escobar’s past) in the town of Guatape
- Get a little tipsy on a night out in Poblado
Although there’s more to see and do around the city, those are the highlights that you really need to see as a tourist.
Once you’ve done that, it’s easy to get to get a flight to the white sand beaches of Cartagena or a four hours bus to the untouched mountain town of Jardin. If you only have 10-15 days in Colombia, there isn’t much reason to stay longer than those three full days.
How Much Time Should I Spend In Bogota?
During our time in Colombia, we spent a weekend in Bogota (arrived late Thursday and left Monday afternoon) and found it to be more than enough time to explore the city, see the sights, and enjoy the nightlife.
Bogota is a big, crowded city and doesn’t have the nicest weather because the high altitude makes it chilly and rainy year round.
Although it’s interesting and definitely worth seeing, I wouldn’t recommend spending more than two days here if you’re on a time limit.
In that time, you can:
- Visit the colorful La Candelaria district
- See the imposing government buildings
- Enjoy the sweeping views from Monserrate
- Have a wild night out in Zona Rosa
- Visit Catedral de Sal de Zipaquirá
Unless you really like crowded streets and crazy nights out, you’ll soon be ready to move on to the jungles, beaches, and more the Colombia has to offer.
So, How Much Time Should I Spend in Medellin and Bogota?
If you’re on a 10-15 day trip to Colombia, that still leaves you with 5-10 days to visit other parts of the country. You could easily fit in the chilled out coffee districts of Salento and Jardin if you want to be out in an authentic small town with plenty of nature, or you could go spend time in Cartagena (or even San Andres Island) if you want a sunny beach and colorful old town.
Although it really comes down to you and your own preferences, if you’re asking yourself “How much time should I spend in medellin and Bogota?” I definitely wouldn’t spend more than five days between them if you’re on a shorter trip in Colombia.
There are just too many other amazing things to see throughout the country.
PS looking for more recommendations for you trip? Check out he Colombia Guide compiled during our six month stay with all the info you need to visit the Caribbean island of San Andres, the white sand beaches of Cartagena, the ruins of Pablo Escobar’s mansion in Guatape and so much more!